UNDERNEATH THE SMILE

 

They’ll never know

The hardships lived

Raising siblings

When I was still a kid

They’ll never know

The difficulty in

Trying to speak

With a speech impediment

They’ll never know

The pain that I had

Always being sad

Growing up without a real dad

They’ll never know

The struggle inside

While always on the grind

Mask worn to hide the feelings behind

They’ll never know

The hurt that lingers

When they point their fingers

The false blame that hinders

They’ll never know

The stress that’s endless

The stabs in the chest

Another failed contest

They’ll never know

The disappointment that shattered

This heart that’s been battered

And the shards left to gather

They’ll never know

The sacrifices that were made

The debts that were paid

And they still look at me afraid

They’ll never know

How hard it was to beat

Getting off of the streets

Without a rap sheet

They’ll never know

All the close calls

All the loved ones lost

All the shade that was tossed

The battles with addiction

The wars, the friction

The patience, the discipline

The wounds and all the blood that was given

They’ll never know

That all the while

Underneath this smile

Is a man

Who’s been tortured, been tested, profiled

Who’s been tried, been used, been abused

Who isn’t afraid to lose

Who endured, who survived

Who continues to strive

And is grateful to be alive

So drag my name through the mud

Wish me death from above

I don’t care, I’ll look at you

Still say “What’s up”

Because I’m a man

Who is blessed to express

That despite all of this

I can still smile

They’ll never know

BY OSCAR TORRES LEON

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